Every year, Apple introduces a major new software update for the iPhone.
This year, that update is thought to be called iOS 14, as it follows iOS 13 from the year before, and iOS 12 the year before that, and so on. Like those past iterations, an early test version of the software has leaked, revealing key features we can expect in the final release likely hitting iPhones this autumn. We're detailing everything we know about iOS 14 below, and we plan to regularly update this guide with the latest.
We've also included information and rumours for iPadOS 14, likely to be the next major update for the iPad.
iOS 14: Release date
- Preview expected at WWDC in June
- Official release likely in September
If Apple follows the same release schedule it did for iOS 13, then we can expect iOS 14 to be previewed at the Worldwide Developers Conference. It's a physical, week-long event likely to be held in June - if it's not canceled or postponed due to coronavirus concerns.
Once it debuts, a beta version of iOS 14 will be provided to developers for testing and so they can ready their apps. Apple's public beta testing group, which anyone can join for free, will then get to test the software next. When developer and public beta testing has wrapped up this autumn, iOS 14 will officially release alongside the next crop of iPhones. Again, that's if COVID-19 doesn't disrupt Apple's release schedule.
iOS 14: Leaked and rumoured features
New Fitness app
- Provides access to workout videos
- Watch users can track workout routines too
According to MacRumors, Apple is working on a fitness app for iPhone, Apple Watch, and Apple TV. It will provide access to fitness and workout videos that you can download. Apple Watch users will able to track their track workout routine progress and view it displayed on iPhone, iPad, or Apple TV. Workout types will include indoor running, outdoor walking, cycling, rowing, stretching, core training, strength training, etc.
Messages app update
- Includes Slack-like mention system
- Retract message option also possible
MacRumors said Apple is testing new iMessage features, including a Slack-like mention system that will allow you to tag contacts with their name (example: @maggie). In a group chat, you can mute the conversation but receive notifications when your name is directly mentioned. Typing indicators in group chats might be added, too. A retract message option (with the retraction visible to all parties) is also being developed.
Default third-party apps
- Set third-party apps as default over Apple's apps
- You can use Chrome over Safari, for instance
Bloomberg claimed Apple might allow users to set third-party apps as their default apps, over Apple's own apps -- including mail, browser, and music apps. So, you could set Chrome or Gmail as your default browser and email app, respectively, on your iPhone. And when you tap a link or an email address, it'll automatically always open in those apps. Imagine being able to set Spotify instead of Apple Music!
- PencilKit for iOS 14 is expected
- Will allow you to handwrite text that gets converted later
According to MacRumors, iOS 14 could include a new PencilKit feature that will allow you to handwrite text in any field with an Apple Pencil. The handwritten content will be converted into standard text, too. Imagine handwriting your text in Messages, but the message is sent like normal. The new PencilKit feature reportedly works with any text input field in iOS, so it'll work with Messages, Notes, Reminders, Mail, etc.
iPadOS 14: Leaked and rumoured features
Last year, Apple split off iOS into iPadOS. While iOS is for iPhone, iPadOS is for iPad. Both are so closely aligned that they follow the same update path. So, the next major of iPadOS will be iPadOS 14. It'll likely launch alongside iOS 14 but will have unique features for iPad users.
Improved peripheral support
- Auto-disappearing mouse cursor
- More advanced trackpad gestures
Early code uncovered from within iOS 14 hints that Apple is working on more advanced cursor support for iPads, blurring the lines further between iOS, iPadOS, and MacOS. It's implementing an auto-disappearing nature for the cursor. The theory is that, once the connected mouse has been motionless/untouched, the cursor on the display vanishes. Once the mouse is moved, the cursor reappears on screen.
It's something of a standard feature in the Mac's operating system but hasn't yet been implemented on iPadOS. The other feature that seems like it should be a default option is the ability for the cursor to change shape. Specifically, between an arrow pointer and a hand pointer when hovering over a web link. 9toMac also claimed iOS 14 could support more advanced mouse/trackpad gestures.
For instance, it could add the ability to use two fingers to replicate a right-click on a mouse. Keep in mind 9to5Mac has also hinted Apple is going to release a keyboard attachment with a trackpad. The natural assumption is that it'd look similar to most other 2-in-1 keyboard attachments.
iOS 14 and iPadOS 14: Device support
Apple hasn't announced an official compatibility list for a software update it hasn't even previewed yet, but rumours suggest it will work with all the same phones as iOS 13, from the iPhone SE and iPhone 6s Plus to the latest iPhone 11 series. As for iPadOS 14, that update is expected to be compatible with all iPad models running iOS 13 - except for iPad mini 4 and iPad Air 2.
What's happened so far?
Here's everything we've heard about the iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 so far.
10 March 2020: iOS 14 points to more advanced cursor support and new iPad keyboards
Code uncovered from within iOS 14 suggests Apple is working on more advanced cursor support for iPads, plus new keyboard models.
Apple might release an iPad keyboard with a trackpad this year
Apple is working on an iPad keyboard that features a built-in trackpad, and it could launch this year, according to a new report.
20 February 2020: iOS 14 may allow more third-party apps as default for your iPhone, Spotify on Home
Apple has a bit of a storied history when it comes to default apps on its devices.